A couple of the new speed demons are living up to their reputations. In Minnesota, newly acquired CF Carlos Gomez swiped his fifth base of the young season. One of the pieces of the Johan Santana trade, Gomez was brought to Minnesota to get on base and make pitchers nervous. So far, he has been great at both. Even more impressive, Michael Bourn in Houston took two bags today off of one of the best defensive catchers in the league, Yadier Molina. With those two Bourn has the early lead in steals with six. There was a bit of concern if each of these guys would get on base enough to allow them to reach their 50+ SB potential, but it appears that they both will approach that number.
In Detroit, Curtis Granderson had some x-rays over the weekend and got some good news. It seems that there was sufficient healing in the broken finger for him to resume baseball activities. The Tigers GM was quoted as saying he was hoping that Granderson could return to the lineup in around ten days.
Former super prospect Carlos Quentin is getting a new start with the White Sox. After being one of the many fantastic young hitters for the Diamondbacks, Quentin struggled badly when promoted to the majors. His time in the desert was brought to an end after he had a torn labrum in his shoulder last season, and was unable to heal enough to make an impact. Now apparently fully healthy, Quentin is starting to make a little noise. Through his first five games, Quentin has an average of .316 with a triple, a homer, and seven knocked in. He is worth a flyer in larger leagues at this point, and someone for all to keep an eye on.
It was quite the afternoon for Pat Burrell. Pat “The Bat” took Bronson Arroyo deep in the first inning, and then again in the third. Burrell is quite the tease. He has days like today when you think that he will be one of the top 15 outfielders, but then you quickly realize that after the two homer game comes a bunch of 0fers with multiple strikeouts. Pat is really quite one dimesional, and doesn’t hit enough homers for me to be worth it. He will hit 25-30 HRs, but will be poor for your average (around .250), doesn’t run at all, and for a guy who hits that many homers, doesn’t drive in as many runs as he should.
One of the more fun names in the major leagues is the Cubs new Japanese import, Kosuke Fukudome. There are so many ways you can go with that one, but I think for now, we will just focus on his baseball. He was a great player in Japan, but his numbers weren’t overly spectacular. Not to mention, outside of Ichiro, most of the Japanese players have seen a dip in their numbers, especially home runs. However, Fukudome is off to an amazing start. After his 3-5 day on Monday, he is now hitting a ridiculous .458, with three doubles, one homer, six ribbies, and two steals. Not sure that his lifetime statistics suggest that he will continue this type of production, and I would try to sell high with the Fukur if it all possible. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
The Twins have somewhat of a history of finding some gems for young pitchers, and it appears that they might have found another. Taking the fifth spot in the rotation after Francisco Liriano was sent to the minors to start the season was Nick Blackburn. After being robbed for a win after his first start in which he gave up just one run in seven innings, Blackburn was sharp again on Monday. Against the White Sox Blackburn gave up two runs in five innings and struck out five. Liriano is on the mend, so there’s no guarantee that Blackburn will hang around the rotation (although we’ll see how long that Slowey will be out). He isn’t a guy that you can count on for the rest of the season, but if you need a spot start, it looks like you can expect a decent start out of Blackburn while he is hanging around.
Buy Low: Justin Verlander. The Tigers are 0-6 and Verlander hasn’t pitched well in either of his two starts. He has a 6.12 ERA and has given up four earned runs in each of his two starts. However, this is a guy who has won 35 games in his first two seasons, and I can’t see either him or the Tigers to continue to play this way. Check and see if Verlander’s owner is down on the young fireballer.
Sell High: Joe Crede. He won the starting third baseman job right at the end of spring, and he is making it look like the Sox made the right call. After his grand slam on Monday, Crede is now hitting .393, with two homers and 10 runs batted in. Given the history of his back trouble, it is most likely just a matter of time before Crede hits the DL so try to find a trading partner as soon as you can before Joe’s back starts barking.